Apple Wins Appeal in Google’s Motorola IPhone Patent Case

Jan 10, 2014 5:59 pm ET

(Updates with company comments in sixth paragraph.)

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. didn’t infringe a patent owned by Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility unit over mobile-phone technology, a U.S. appeals court ruled today.

The ruling, posted on the website of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, affirms a victory Apple won that ensured there would be no disruption to U.S. imports of its iPhone.

Motorola Mobility had unsuccessfully claimed Apple infringed six patents in a case before the U.S. International Trade Commission. The sole patent on appeal involves a way to control the delivery of data to applications on a wireless device. The three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit said the commission was correct to rule that Cupertino, California-based Apple used a different technique.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, inherited the case when it bought Motorola Mobility in 2012 for $12.4 billion. The purchase was made in part to get Motorola Mobility’s trove of more than 17,000 patents, which Google hoped would be used to counter attacks that its Android operating system was infringing Apple and Microsoft Corp. patents. Thus far, the strategy hasn’t resulted in a significant legal victory against either company.

The patent in this case also has been asserted against Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

Google is disappointed and is “evaluating our options,” said Matt Kallman, a Motorola spokesman. The company can ask that the case be reviewed by all active judges of the court, and can ask that the Supreme Court hear it. Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said the company had no comment.

The case is Motorola Mobility LLC. V. U.S. International Trade Commission, 13-1666, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The ITC case is In the Matter of Certain Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, Computers and Components Thereof, 337-745, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

--Editors: Elizabeth Wasserman, Michael Shepard